No. 2 Connecticut 84, Rhode Island 65
STORRS, Conn. (AP) _ Rhode Island coach Linda Ziemke brought her undefeated squad to Storrs knowing that No. 2 Connecticut was without leading scorer Kara Wolters.
She soon learned that Carla Berube, who played the post position in high school, was more than an adequate substitute. The Berube led Connecticut with 21 points as the Huskies beat the previously unbeaten Rams 84-64 Friday night,
``Carla always finds a way to get something done,″ Ziemke said. ``Her greatest skill is being able to deliver whatever a team needs at a given moment.″
Connecticut needed scoring from the post. Berube’s game-high 21 was two points shy of her career best.
The Huskies also needed solid rebounding, and Berube grabbed eight. Berube said after the game that she was just playing the role the team needed.
``I just did whatever I had to do for the team because of the loss of Kara today,″ she said.
Her teammates were quicker with the praise.
``She just showed everybody today that she’s very versatile, and down the stretch it’s going to be very key for us,″ senior Jennifer Rizzotti said.
Connecticut extended its winning streak to eight games and ended the Rams five-game streak, the best start in the Rams’ 20-year history.
Rhode Island took its only lead with less than 46 seconds gone in the first half on Marcie Byrd’s jumper. Connecticut tied it at 2-2 when Rizzotti drove the lane uncontested.
Freshman Amy Duran, making her first start, made a jumper in the lane and Huskies went ahead for good at 4-2 with 17:55 left in the first half. Duran finished with 8 points and played 24 minutes.
``At first I was nervous,″ Duran said. ``I didn’t know where to go off the tap. Once the game got into it, it was just like coming off the bench.″
Byrd’s 17-footer brought the Rams to 8-6 with 16:08 to play in the first half. Connecticut countered with a 3-pointer from Nykesha Sales.
Connecticut’s biggest lead was 67-37 with 11:33 left after two free throws by Kim Better. The Huskies had a season-high 17 steals. The Huskies outrebounded Rhode Island 43-25.
Tasha King led the Rams with 17.